Find-A-Friend Friday: Meet Lara

Okay, blog friends, I’m really excited to introduce you to Lara. Once you get to know her and read her blog a little, you’ll start to be mad at yourself for not knowing her sooner.  She’s a remarkable woman who sees herself as incredibly ordinary.  But to those of us who have read about her adventures, we know better.  She is a talented singer, a gifted photographer, a great writer, and a down-to-earth, full-hearted mother.  She and I have discovered that we were in a lot of the same places at the same time and even got married just a few weeks apart, but alas, we’ve never met in real life (we think).  Someday, Lara, someday. Here she is.  Meet Lara (Isn’t she lovely?):

Hi!  My name is Lara (rhymes with car-a, not core-a) and I am going to be 37 next month (not sure yet how I feel about that, but it is what it is).  My husband, Joel, and I just celebrated 12 years of marriage last week and we have three daughters:  Bria (10), Chloe (8) and Sophia, who will turn 5 in a couple weeks and just lost her first tooth.  We have lived in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (which makes us Yoopers) for the past two years and hope to finally stay put after never being anywhere more than 3 years.

I grew up in Orem, Utah as the oldest of four children and the only girl.  This meant two things: 1) I was teased mercilessly and 2) My dad never got mad at me.  I like to say that the reason I was sent three little girls was to make up for all of the torture that my brothers put me through growing up, and to somehow let me experience what it might have been like to have the sister I so desperately wanted.  I went to BYU and majored in music (vocal performance) and then served a mission in Bucuresti, Romania.  I actually met my husband just before I entered the MTC because he had just returned from his own mission in Romania.  He also majored in music, so when I got home and finished up school, we ran into each other a lot.  We were married after a year and a half of dating, and then we put Joel through two more music degrees, and he is now an orchestra conductor and professor of music at the university in our town.  I teach voice lessons at the university and in our home and perform when I can (it pays to be married to the local orchestra conductor when it comes to getting gigs), but spend the bulk of my time “staying at home.” (Whoever decided to call it that, anyway?)

What’s your favorite part of motherhood?

My favorite part of motherhood is my children.  I absolutely love learning who they are, what they think about, and what interests them.  I love watching them learn about the world.  I lovelovelove all of the crazy and wonderful and astute things they say.  I love the things they teach me on a daily basis.  I love how when I am looking at them in a quiet moment and my heart just bursts with surges of love for them.  I love the cuddles and the conversations we share.  I love them.  They seriously make every difficult thing about motherhood completely worth it to me.

What part of motherhood would you subcontract out if you could?

My initial reaction would be laundry, but my husband has offered many times to do it for me and I won’t let him.  I guess I am a little anal about how the laundry must be done, so I probably will never be able to let go of that control, no matter how difficult it is for me to stay on top of it.

My second choice would be cooking, but I actually have subcontracted that out to my husband.  He loves to cook and gladly does it unless he has to work late.  In which case my kids will often get scrambled eggs or mac-n-cheese or cold cereal for dinner.  But they don’t mind, and I don’t have to “cook!”

Besides, now that I think about it, neither laundry nor cooking is really part of motherhood—everyone has to have clean clothes and food. So I guess the part I really wish I could have someone do for me is bedtime.  I really hate bedtime.  Especially in the summer, because it doesn’t get dark up here until nearly 11 pm and do you know how hard it is to make kids to go to sleep while the sun is still shining?

Name 2 or 3 items on your “bucket list.”  (Some things you’d like to do before you die.)

Much to my husband’s chagrin, I think the number one thing on that list is to learn to play the bagpipes.  I adore the bagpipes, and I will learn to play them one day.  I’ve even found a teacher up here already: don’t tell Joel!  I’d also love to travel as much as possible.  We’ve been able to do a little bit, but not nearly enough!  I would also like to record a CD of lullabies someday.  I want to serve a mission (hopefully to Romania) with my husband.

Brag for a minute.  Do it.  What are a few things that you’re pretty good at?

I can sing.  I am a pretty good photographer.  I love to learn.  I will do as much research as I can about whatever is interesting to me at the moment, and can go on some pretty voracious learning sprees (or “kicks” as I like to call them) which is how I’ve obtained many of my talents.  I forgive easily.

What are you loving lately?

Greek yogurt, fresh berries, John McWhorter’s latest book (What Language Is), Tosca, Stephen Sondheim, Flavia de Luce, summer weather (finally!), Instagram, and my husband’s new grill.

Do you have a favorite scripture or quote?  Why?

I love to read all of Moroni 7 as often as I can.  I feel like it helps me center myself on what is important in this life.  It’s so easy to get bogged down in the mundane tasks that must be done and sort of lose the eternal perspective.  I particularly love verse 48:

Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ, that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure.  Amen.”

What do you gravitate toward during your unscheduled time?

Reading.  I love to read as much as I possibly can.  When life is relatively calm, I usually read about 3 or 4 books a week.  When it is crazy (as it seems to always be), I hope to still get through one book a week.  My husband bought me a Kindle for Christmas and it has been incredible to have!  Hooray for carrying around 100 books in your purse!

The computer (reading blogs, Facebook and email) is also something I tend to do in my spare time.  I think it still counts as reading, though.

What’s something you don’t usually want people to know about you, but that they need to know if they’re going to be your friend?

That as much as I love spending time with friends, I crave my alone time.  I am an introvert to the core and I need time to myself.  It’s even taken my husband a really long time to figure this out (even though he is just like me this way) and he now realizes when I just need to go do something all alone.  It’s refreshing for me.

I also hate talking on the phone, so if I don’t call you often…don’t take it personally.  It’s just one of my (many) neuroses.

What parts of your testimony are you the most sure of?

That Heavenly Father is aware of me and my needs.  He knows me personally and answers my prayers just how I need them to be answered, even if it isn’t what I thought I wanted.  That tithing is a true principle and we are blessed beyond measure when we pay it.  That Jesus Christ is my Savior and Redeemer and that by living His gospel we will find true joy in this life and in the life to come.

Let’s say you’re dying in your sleep tonight.  What would you eat for your last meal?

Fettucine Alfredo with chicken and broccoli.  Lots of bread.  And pumpkin pie for dessert. (Yes, you’ve read that correctly—no chocolate.  I don’t really like chocolate that much, possibly another of my neuroses.)

What homemaking job/task gives you the most satisfaction?

Cleaning the kitchen.  I have no idea how one little room can be such a mess in a matter of minutes!  It feels so good to have all of the dishes clean and put away, the counters wiped off, the floor swept and mopped…just so that we can make and eat dinner and turn it into a crazy mess again!  But I sure do enjoy those few minutes every day when it is actually spotless.

What’s something unexpected in your life, and how have you dealt with it?

As a girl who pretty much lived in the same house for her whole life (and most certainly in the same town), I never thought I would move so much once I got married.  I also never really thought I’d live so far from Utah.  While I wish my mom lived across town on a daily basis, I know that I am a better person for it.  I’ve had to break out of the introverted shell and learn to make friends.  I’ve had to become closer to my husband and children.  I’ve had to learn to rely on people that aren’t my mom for help, which may have been the hardest thing for me.  It’s hard to let others serve you, but I have learned that it is truly a gift to learn to allow others the blessings of service, and to receive it with a grateful heart.

Tell us about your blog.

I have been blogging at Overstuffed since 2005.  It got its name from the very full plate I always seem to have, but also because my life overflows with blessings.  I blog about my experiences as a wife and mother, but also as a singer, a photographer (I take as many pictures as I possibly can) and a daughter of God.  I try hard to recognize the lessons that the Lord wants me to learn and I consider my blog a way to remember those things.  It astounds me how much I have already forgotten whenever I peruse my archives, and I am so thankful I have kept a record.  I also have an unhealthy relationship with parenthetical statements (perhaps you’ve noticed?)

Isn’t she fantastic?  Thank you Lara! A question for readers to answer in the comments:  Based on this interview, If you and Lara went out to lunch, what topic do you think you’d end up talking about?  (This is my attempt to suck more comments out of you.  These find-a-friend Friday interviews are so fun to read, but a little hard to know what to comment about.  And if the volunteers are like me, they probably click over 47 times to see if anyone had anything to say.  So say something. 

Was that too bossy? :))


18 thoughts on “Find-A-Friend Friday: Meet Lara

  1. Thanks so much for this connection, Stephanie…Lara really is all you said…I am amazed! I draw so much comfort, strength, and inspiration when I see the power of God and His goodness running through the full and rich lives of the vibrant Saints…thanks again!

  2. Ooooo, I call it being shy. Maybe an introvert is a better word. That makes it sound so much more socially acceptable! 🙂

    I too hate to talk on the phone. I have had many people comment on the fact I never shut up in person, but talking on the phone is like pulling teeth! Oh well.

    I look forward to checking out your blog. (when my computer is back to running again…right now, using the old crappy one is hard! :D)

  3. If Lara and I went to lunch, we would have plenty to talk about. Singing, teaching, being an introvert and hating phones are the obvious things. I’d probably most enjoy picking her brains about what she has read lately. Lara, are you on Goodreads? I’d also want to talk about how she doesn’t like chocolate. Chocolate makes me sick, but I love love love it.
    Thanks for introducing me to Lara. I’ll definitely be checking out her blog.

    • Hi Jeannine, yes I am on Goodreads! I would love to see what you’re reading too (I looked at your blog a little bit, and I do believe we might be kindred spirits). THere is a widget on the bottom of my sidebar that will send you to my goodreads profile. I have no idea how else to get you there….

      And chocolate gives me migraines. And it’s a bit too rich, I guess. I like spicy desserts (cinnamon and nutmeg and ginger kind of spice, that is) or fruity ones better.

  4. What no chocolate?! Ah well, that means there’s more for me. 🙂

    Looking back I wish I had been a music major. But knowing I wouldn’t have met my husband if I was I guess that makes up for it. I would love to hear you sing. Beautiful singing is a thrill for me (mostly because I can’t).

    And having girls is so much fun, isn’t it?

  5. Lara, how wonderful to meet you! I hope you don’t mind, that picture you took at Eagle Harbor is my desktop wallpaper now- I am a sucker for stunning sea horizons. If we went to lunch I would want to talk books too, I already have a couple to add to my list after perusing your blog! And I’m making pumpkin chocolate chip cookies with the kids today…best of both worlds? It’s very heartening to me to meet someone who so obviously and thoroughly and enthusiastically loves motherhood. It makes me think I can get there too, even when I have days that the kids try to send me to time-out (probably for good reason, *sigh*). Great to meet you!

    • I am flattered that you borrowed the picture. I hope it looks okay on your desktop since I just took it with my phone! And no worries, I have to go to time-out pretty often myself.

  6. Yay! I love Lara! I’ve been reading her blog for a long time, and I think she’s fabulous. If we were at lunch together, which would be so fun- let’s do it!- we’d probably talk music. Because when you get two music geeks together, that’s what they do.

  7. We woudl talk about WHY ON EARTH she’d add BROCCOLI to perfectly good alfredo? That’s just crazy talk.
    I, however, have been out to lunch wtih Lara and it is delightful. Maybe next summer….
    And, I love Lara. She is my sister. {blowing Lara kisses}

  8. Lara and I met when we both lived in Cedar City, Utah and were in the same ward. She was my daughter’s young women’s counselor and teacher and I was a teacher’s aide at the elementary school that her daughter’s attended. At lunch we would most likely talk about our girls and about photography. I love photography too but am an amateur. I would ask her many questions and have her teach me a few tricks. I love Lara and her blog and recommend everyone seeing this to begin following. She is a beautiful lady! Love her!

  9. Great interview! First of all I would never have lunch with Lara, only dinner, so my husband could watch the kids. I think Lara and I would talk about our crazy lives and how she balances everything! I am so impressed! I then would tell her how jealous I am of her cooking, laundry-offering husband, though mine is pretty helpful too, in his own way. Finally, I would order chocolate cake for desert and tell her how I respect her disdain for chocolate, but will never truly understand. 🙂

    I’m also not a phone talker.

  10. Lara (like, “car-a) (lol) and I are in a strong disagreeance about chocolate and nuts in baked goods. But, she is one of the best people I know married to the best person I know (my Brother) and the only reason I can’t do lunch with her and her 3 beautiful girls and my 4 darling boys, is because she lives in MICHIGAN! It is fabulous for them and tragic for me. This was great. Love you Lara!

  11. Lara it is so nice to meet you! I am not a fan of talking on the phone (unless I am really in the mood or I am talking to my mom and dad who are on a mission and get home in 1 MONTH!!!) and I am not a big fan of chocolate either!!! I feel the same way about alone time too…It seems like everyone Stephanie has on Fridays is about to be my new best blog friend! 🙂 I can’t wait to check out your blog and get to know you better!

  12. Loved learning about you! I think we have a lot in common. I’m enjoying golden silence right now while my husband has the kids at his family’s cabin for the night. And I also don’t like chocolate, so we’d be friends. I’m also picky about laundry, but I let that go a few years ago (teens have to learn to do laundry, right?). But I have a few tricks to reserve the things I know I really need to be washed by me. It sounds like if we went to lunch we’d talk about not liking chocolate (because it’s so rare!) and probably our families.

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